Nutrition

Undernutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths in children under five globally – and at least two Billion people suffer from at least one form of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. IDS and partners use multidisciplinary approaches in research, policy and action to understand nutritional inequalities at the overlap of food and health systems. 

Women in Chad with palm oil

IDS brings a critical development perspective to the heart of debates on nutrition

Beyond the tragic loss of life, malnutrition also has hugely detrimental social and economic effects throughout people’s lives; traps people in poverty and transmits it to their children. These deaths and damage result from poor political, policy and programmatic choices and are entirely preventable. IDS takes a critical development perspective to shape and strengthen the response to these challenges.

Thinking about nutrition in relation to wider development challenges

Improving nutrition cannot happen in isolation from efforts to address other development challenges. IDS’ research on nutrition includes work on sensitising livelihoods development, social protection, systems of gender and care, water, sanitation and hygiene and agriculture and food security to the importance of nutrition. 

IDS is part of the partnership Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia, which aims to improve nutrition through understanding of how agriculture and agri-food systems can be better designed. In Bangladesh, IDS led an evaluation of a DFID programme that aims to improve nutrition outcomes by integrating the delivery of community nutrition support with livelihoods and social protection. 

Putting accountable politics at the heart of improving nutrition

Engaging with politics and placing those accountable for decisions at all levels is fundamental to pushing nutrition up the political agenda. IDS focuses on the politics and governance of nutrition by exploring policy processes and commitment towards tackling malnutrition and by developing new forms of community and political engagement via a range of innovative methods.

IDS produces the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index, which ranks governments and donors on their political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition. IDS is also part of the Transform Nutrition Consortium, which works to stimulate more effective action to improve nutrition via research on nutrition programming and policy; including via community accountability. 

Combining different approaches to strengthen our understanding of malnutrition

IDS’ nutrition work is underscored by a growing list of major, multi-methods evaluations. Using, developing and teaching innovative and multiple methods to conduct research is vital to our approach and understanding. 

Through leading on evidence mobilisation embedded within an impact evaluation in Nigeria, IDS highlighted many to barriers to women and children in improving nutrition. IDS is also co-leading a mixed methods evaluation to estimate the impact of DFID’s mNutrition programme. 

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Jean Pierre Tranchant is a Research Fellow with the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team More details

Jessica Meeker is the Nutrition Convenor, Knowledge Services More details

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Accelerating Progress in Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition

This programme will focus on how agriculture can deliver better nutrition outcomes by developing evidence-based policy options and tools for businesses, governments, NGOs and donors. More details

African Farmer Game

African Farmer is a free, open source game that simulates the complex decisions and uncertainties faced by small-scale farmers living in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. More details

AllAfrica and IDS development reporting initiative

IDS and AllAfrica have teamed up to produce and distribute compelling multi-media content on critical issues for Africa’s future, as part of a development reporting initiative. More details

Analysis of Maharashtra’s Decline in Childhood Stunting

UNICEF and IDS are collaborating to undertake an in-depth analysis of the factors that may have led to the 16% decline in child stunting in Maharashtra evidenced in surveys covering the period 2006-2012. More details

Assessing the Impact of Conflict and the Effects of WFP Humanitarian Interventions on Moderate Acute Malnutrition and Other Developmental Outcomes in Mali

This project is a multidisciplinary research partnership involving IFPRI, PCD, IDS and WFP which builds on a unique pre-crises baseline conducted in early 2012 to provide rigorous evidence for policymakers on the effects of humanitarian interventions by WFP on child malnutrition in in Mali. More details

CIFF - Nutrition Advocacy Consortium

In partnership with Results for Development and Results ACTION Partnership, the Institute of Development Studies is part of a consortium that aims to build accountability, strengthen policy and foster leadership in nutrition. More details

Ethics in the Nutrition Policy Process

The issue of power in food and nutrition governance is under-explored. This research looks at the power of international actors and the (lack of) participation of those experiencing malnutrition in the setting of nutrition policy, as ethical issues. More details

External evaluation of mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Africa and South Asia (mNutrition)

mNutrition is a global initiative supported by DFID, organised by GSMA, and implemented by in-country Mobile Network Operators to use mobile technology to raise the health and nutritional status of children and adults in the developing world. More details

GODAN Action - Enabling practical engagement with open data in agriculture and nutrition

GODAN Action brings together agriculture and nutrition specialists and open data experts and will support GODAN in its mission by building people’s capacity to engage with open data More details

HEART (Health and Education Advice and Resource Team)

HEART is a consortium of leading organisations in international development, health, nutrition, education, social protection and WASH. More details

Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index - HANCI

HANCI measures and ranks governments’ political commitment to reduce hunger and undernutrition on an annual basis. More details

Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa (ISSD-Africa)

The goal of ISSD Africa Programme is to support the development of a market-oriented, pluralistic, vibrant and dynamic seed sector in Africa for providing both female and male smallholder farmers access to quality seed of superior varieties. More details

International and National Responses to Hunger Guided by Better Quality Metrics

The project aims to assess when, where, how amd why mobile phone technology might enable more effective and credible real-time monitoring of nutrition More details

Knowledge Exhange Forum for Nutrition Curricula Development and Adoption in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

IDS are working to design, develop and maintain an online knowledge exchange forum to facilitate consultation during development of training packages, to increase the nutrition capacity of frontline workers in East Africa. More details

Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility

Researching the impacts of, and responses to, volatile food prices in poor communities in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zambia. More details

Malnutrition and Poverty Traps in OIC Countries: Evidence and Policy Responses

This projects aims to study the links between malnutrition and poverty and between maternal and child malnutrition in OIC countries. More details

Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Programmes Framework (MQSUN)

MQSUN aims to provide DFID with technical services to improve the quality of nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive programmes. Services will be provided on a call down basis to DFID country offices over a period of four years. More details

POSHAN Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonise Actions for Nutrition

POSHAN is a 4-year initiative which aims to build evidence on effective actions for nutrition and support the use of evidence in decision-making. It is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by IFPRI in India. More details

Programme Partnership between Irish Aid and IDS on Social Protection and Food Security and Nutrition

The Programme Partnership between Irish Aid and the Institute of Development Studies focuses on social protection and food and nutrition. The collaboration brings together research and capacity development with policy, programmatic and influencing know-how to support action that more effectively reduces poverty and injustice. More details

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IDS publications on international development research

La Vie en Temps de Volatilite du Prix des Produits Alimentaires: Évolution des Habitudes Alimentaires: Points de vue sur les Aliments Transformés et Les Aliments Dangereux

Le projet de recherche sur la sécurité alimentaire en temps de volatilité des prix mené par le Département socio-économie et anthropologie du développement (DSEAD) de l’Institut des Sciences des Sociétés avec le Financement de l’ONG Oxfam et en partenariat scientifique avec Institute of Development Studies (IDS) vise à décrire et analyser les conditions de vie en temps de volatilité des prix des aliments. More details

ER102 Front Cover

Process Tracing: The Potential and Pitfalls for Impact Evaluation in International Development. Summary of a Workshop held on 7 May 2014

IDS Evidence Report 102 (2014)

In international development there is increasing pressure to demonstrate that aid spending is making a difference. In short, that it is having an ‘impact’. More details

Non-IDS publication

Why Worry About the Politics of Childhood Undernutrition?

World Development 64 (2014)

Undernutrition affects over 2 billion people; but most of the global policy focus has been on technical solutions rather than an understanding of nutrition politics. More details

ER99 Front Cover

The HANCI Donor Index 2013: Measuring Donors’ Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition in Developing Countries

IDS Evidence Report 99 (2014)

This report presents the Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) 2013 for donor countries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Illustrating the Rise in Food Prices in Zambia: Household Expenditure Shares and Price Indexes, 2006 and 2010

Food consumption and subsequently household welfare are sensitive to changes in food prices. This is especially so among poorer households who can spend up to three quarters of their income on food (Cranfield, Preckel, & Hertel, 2007). More details

This is the cover to IDS Working Paper 450, 'Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As'.

Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As

IDS Working Paper 450 (2014)

The dominant nutrition discourse concerns access to adequate food and its quality. It now includes food security, food rights and justice, governance and agriculture. More details

IDS publications on international development research

"The Constitution Lies To Us": Securing Accountability for the Right to Food in Kenya

Food Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)

Factors rooted in Kenya’s history and political economy have dampened citizen expectations of the state, thwarted popular mobilisation and generated weak state responses. This raises a question of responsibility. In this paper, we explore the failure and efforts to overcome them, before considering how accountability for hunger can be made the norm. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Hunger Revolts and Citizen Strikes: Popular Protests in Mozambique, 2008-2012

Food Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)

In February 2008 and September 2010, the cities of Maputo and Matola were the scene of violent protests against the rise in the cost of living, undertaken by groups of ordinary citizens. Immediately afterwards, these protests were replicated in some other Mozambican cities, but on a much smaller scale, and they were quickly brought under control by the police. More details

Cover for IDS report entitled the Moral and Political Economy of Food Security in Bangladesh

The Food Riots That Never Were: The Moral and Political Economy of Food Security in Bangladesh

Food Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)

The green revolution and the global integration of food markets were supposed to relegate scarcity to the annals of history. So why did thousands of people in dozens of countries take to the streets when world food prices spiked in 2008 and 2011? More details

Boy stand by a burning car in the 2008 Mozambique riots.

Them Belly Full (But We Hungry): Food Rights Struggles in Bangladesh, India, Kenya

Food Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)

The green revolution and the global integration of food markets were supposed to relegate scarcity to the annals of history. So why did thousands of people in dozens of countries take to the streets when world food prices spiked in 2008 and 2011? Are food riots the surest route to securing the right to food in the 21st century? More details

IDS publications on international development research

Planning and Costing to Accelerate Actions for Scaling Up Nutrition

The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement was launched in 2010 to reinvigorate efforts to address undernutrition globally. It brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to strengthen political commitments and improve accountability by providing a platform for collective action in which governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), businesses, donors and the United Nations can work together. More details

This is the image for the publication, 'Turning Rapid Growth into Meaningful Growth: Sustaining the Commitment to Nutrition in Zambia'.

Turning Rapid Growth into Meaningful Growth: Sustaining the Commitment to Nutrition in Zambia

IDS Special Collection (2014)

The articles in this IDS Special Collection show how the commitment to nutrition has been built in Zambia, and provide some pointers and guides to the ways in which that increased commitment could be leveraged to raise resources and how to allocate these. More details

This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 449, 'Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility: Evidence from Two Communities in Pakistan'.

Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility: Evidence from Two Communities in Pakistan

IDS Working Paper (2014)

This report contributes to the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility project by examining the impact of food price volatility on poor and vulnerable households through qualitative research conducted in 2012 and 2013 at ‘listening posts’ in a rural and urban area of Pakistan. More details

Strengthening_Evidence_Based_Policy_2014

Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs November 2012 – March 2014

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2014)

Knowledge and evidence are important elements of all policy processes. While the availability of more or higher quality evidence does not guarantee better policy processes, it is difficult to imagine how development policy and outcomes can be improved without it. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Report of the WINNN-ORIE Nutrition Stakeholders Engagement Event, 29 April 2014, Abuja

On the morning of Tuesday 29 April 2014, around 70 stakeholders discussed how to tackle undernutrition in Northern Nigeria, including staff from state and federal government, multilateral agencies, Nigerian research institutions, and domestic and international non-governmental organisations. More details

ER90 Front Cover

Policy Options to Enhance Markets for Nutrient-Dense Foods in Tanzania

IDS Evidence Report 90 (2014)

There is an urgent need to reduce alarming rates of undernutrition in Tanzania. This report analyses options for policies and interventions to improve the functioning of markets that deliver nutrient-dense foods. More details

PB72 Front Cover

Ensuring that Food Fortification will Reach the Poor in Tanzania

IDS Policy Briefing 72 (2014)

Tanzania has introduced a mandatory food fortification programme to tackle the country’s high rates of undernutrition. Experience from other countries shows that fortification can add vital micronutrients into commonly eaten foods at a low cost. More details

This is the cover image of the report, 'Maharashtra’s Child Stunting Declines: What is Driving Them? Findings of a Multidisciplinary Analysis'.

Maharashtra’s Child Stunting Declines: What is Driving Them? Findings of a Multidisciplinary Analysis

Between 2006 and 2012, Maharashtra’s stunting rate among children under two years of age was reported to decline by 15 percentage points – one of the fastest declines in stunting seen anywhere at any time. More details

IDS publications on international development research

ORIE Nigeria: Quantitative Impact Evaluation Baseline Report

Nutrition Research in Northern Nigeria (ORIE) (2014)

This report presents the findings from the baseline survey of the quantitative impact evaluation of the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) Programme interventions in Northern Nigeria. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 447, 'What are the Factors Enabling and Constraining Effective Leaders in Nutrition? A Four Country Study'.

What are the Factors Enabling and Constraining Effective Leaders in Nutrition? A Four Country Study

IDS Working Paper 447 (2014)

Leadership has been identified as a key factor in supporting action on nutrition in countries experiencing a high burden of childhood undernutrition. This study of individuals identified as influential within nutrition in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya and India examines why individuals champion nutrition policy, of their countries. More details

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